Two elderly Rumford residents shaken up in bizarre accident in Mexico

A 1997 GMC Jimmy in the foreground traveled about 1,500 feet through front yards lining Harlow Hill Road, ran over hedges and crossed through two lanes of back and forth traffic on Roxbury Road without hitting anything before slamming into the Speck Mountain Evangelistic Church and Outreach at 33 Roxbury Road in Mexico.
Terry Karkos | Sun Journal
A 1997 GMC Jimmy in the foreground traveled about 1,500 feet through front yards lining Harlow Hill Road, ran over hedges and crossed through two lanes of back and forth traffic on Roxbury Road without hitting anything before slamming into the Speck Mountain Evangelistic Church and Outreach at 33 Roxbury Road in Mexico.
Posted May 25, 2014, at 8:54 a.m.
Last modified May 25, 2014, at 2:14 p.m.
Mexico police Lt. Dan Carrier, left, talks with a witness Saturday after a 1997 GMC Jimmy driven by John Hall, 91, of Rumford, traveled about 1,500 feet through yards lining Harlow Hill Road, crossed Roxbury Road and collided with the Speck Mountain Evangelistic Church and Outreach at 33 Roxbury Road. John Hall is being helped onto a gurney by Med-Care Ambulance crewmen at right center while another ambulance crewman at center tends to Hall's wife Mary, 90, still inside the sport utility vehicle.
Terry Karkos | Sun Journal
Mexico police Lt. Dan Carrier, left, talks with a witness Saturday after a 1997 GMC Jimmy driven by John Hall, 91, of Rumford, traveled about 1,500 feet through yards lining Harlow Hill Road, crossed Roxbury Road and collided with the Speck Mountain Evangelistic Church and Outreach at 33 Roxbury Road. John Hall is being helped onto a gurney by Med-Care Ambulance crewmen at right center while another ambulance crewman at center tends to Hall's wife Mary, 90, still inside the sport utility vehicle.
Mexico police Lt. Dan Carrier, left, photographs a 1997 GMC Jimmy early Saturday afternoon after the SUV hit the Speck Mountain Evangelistic Church and Outreach at 33 Roxbury Road in Mexico. Carrier said the Jimmy traveled about 1,500 feet, jumping the Harlow Hill Road curb while descending the hill and passing between the utility pole and fence just to the right of Carrier's head in the background.
Terry Karkos | Sun Journal
Mexico police Lt. Dan Carrier, left, photographs a 1997 GMC Jimmy early Saturday afternoon after the SUV hit the Speck Mountain Evangelistic Church and Outreach at 33 Roxbury Road in Mexico. Carrier said the Jimmy traveled about 1,500 feet, jumping the Harlow Hill Road curb while descending the hill and passing between the utility pole and fence just to the right of Carrier's head in the background.
Tire tracks in the foreground show the path on Saturday afternoon between a utility pole and fence that a 1997 GMC Jimmy took after its driver told police the accelerator stuck and the brakes gave out. The SUV eventually collided with the Speck Mountain Evangelistic Church and Outreach at 33 Roxbury Road at top center in the background.
Terry Karkos | Sun Journal
Tire tracks in the foreground show the path on Saturday afternoon between a utility pole and fence that a 1997 GMC Jimmy took after its driver told police the accelerator stuck and the brakes gave out. The SUV eventually collided with the Speck Mountain Evangelistic Church and Outreach at 33 Roxbury Road at top center in the background.
Tire tracks across the front lawn at 4 Harlow Hill Road in Mexico show the path early Saturday afternoon of the 1997 GMC Jimmy in the background that jumped a curb while traveling down the hill for about 1,500 feet before colliding with the church in the background.
Terry Karkos | Sun Journal
Tire tracks across the front lawn at 4 Harlow Hill Road in Mexico show the path early Saturday afternoon of the 1997 GMC Jimmy in the background that jumped a curb while traveling down the hill for about 1,500 feet before colliding with the church in the background.

MEXICO, Maine — Two elderly Rumford residents were involved in a bizarre accident Saturday afternoon when their sport utility vehicle struck a church on Roxbury Road.

Driver John Hall, 91, complained of chest pain from the safety belt and his wife, Mary Hall, 90, complained of anxiety, Mexico police Lt. Dan Carrier said.

They were taken to Rumford Hospital to be evaluated, Carrier said.

After talking with witnesses, Carrier said John Hall was driving down Harlow Hill Road shortly before 1:15 p.m. in his 1997 GMC Jimmy after they visited their son.

Carrier said John Hall told him that his accelerator stuck and he lost his brakes, so he shut off the engine after putting it in park while trying to stop the SUV, and lost steering control as a result.

Witnesses “heard the vehicle making a loud, grinding noise,” Carrier said. “Some people say it sounds like brakes. It could have been from shutting it off and putting it in park, trying to stop the vehicle.”

The SUV traveled about 1,500 feet, Carrier said. It just missed colliding with a utility pole, passing between it and a large wooden fence after veering off the road and into the front yards of houses lining Harlow Hill Road.

Tire tracks on lawns of houses at 6 and 4 Harlow Hill Road showed the SUV’s path through a row of hedges. It narrowly missing two rusted iron poles behind the hedges.

The Jimmy emerged from the hedges, dropped over a curb back onto Harlow Hill Road, crossed both lanes of Roxbury Road (also called Route 17), jumped another curb and collided with the concrete steps and porch roof posts of the Speck Mountain Evangelistic Church & Outreach at 33 Roxbury Road.

“He had no brakes and missed the telephone pole back there when he hopped the curb,” Carrier said. “He went through here and over the bushes and crossed the intersection and hit the church while traffic was passing back and forth when he came through. He was lucky he didn’t hit anybody.”

Carrier said it could have been a lot worse.

To view the full story, go to sunjournal.com.

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